Video Premiere: Oliver the Crow Fight MAGA with “Ashes of a Day Gone By”

Foreboding and majestic, Oliver the Crow’s “Ashes of a Day Gone By” encourages us to build a future out of hopes and dreams, rather than yesterday’s embers.

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Time and memory are funny things; we are easily prone to distortion, of twisting perspective to see things differently as they once were. Foreboding and majestic at the same time, Oliver the Crow’s “Ashes of a Day Gone By” encourages us to look forward and build our future out of hopes and dreams, rather than yesterday’s embers.

Oliver the Crow album art

Oliver the Crow album art

I still see the May snow in the sky
Like it was yesterday
From early dawn to peaceful night
I tunneled in the snow and ice
Hold on though I’d often try
The ashes of a day gone by
Would always slip away

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the music video for “Ashes of a Day Gone By,” off Oliver the Crow’s upcoming self-titled debut album (independently out June 22, 2018). The Nashville-based duo of cellist Kaitlyn Raitz and fiddler Ben Plotnick, Oliver the Crow deliver a minimal yet expansive brand of orchestral folk. “Ashes of a Day Gone By” is the perfect example of their powerful art at work.

Oliver the Crow © Taylor Noel Photography

Oliver the Crow © Taylor Noel Photography

I was sure I’d met my bride
And that she’d always stay
Temptation’s never been so sly
I left that angel there to cry
No matter how I changed my mind
The ashes of a day gone by
Would always slip away

A sense of urgency colors Oliver the Crow’s instrumentation. Though sparse and limited to cello, fiddle and vocals, Oliver the Crow manage to create a dynamic atmosphere that feels on edge, like it’s running to keep from toppling over. The band explains, “‘Ashes of a Day Gone By’ is a song Ben wrote about trying to not live in the past. It was meant to be as much a reminder to himself as to the listener that there’s no point in looking backwards. [It’s] one of many vaguely political songs, written with the “make America great again” sentiment being shouted around.”

Oliver the Crow © Taylor Noel Photography

Oliver the Crow © Taylor Noel Photography

Directed by the band’s own Kaitlyn Raitz, the “Ashes of a Day Gone By” video splices together various footage from the past. “A few months ago, Kaitlyn discovered the treasure-trove of The Nashville Metro Archives Audiovisual Conservation Center at the Nashville Public Library,” the band explains. “They are in the process of digitizing a whole bunch of home movies made by Nashvillians around Nashville and around the world. When she saw some of this footage, she knew she had to collaborate somehow with them… “Ashes of a Day Gone By” seemed like a perfect choice. It’s a song Ben wrote to remind himself, and potentially others along the way, not to live in the past (easier said than done). Despite how “great” we might feel the past has been, quite frankly, a lot of the past wasn’t that great… This footage, along with footage from the African American Home Movie Archive in Baltimore, Maryland, highlights a seemingly simpler time, but there is a dark undertone.”

So when your sense of foolish pride
Clings to yesterday
While you’re stumbling through the night
It’s crystal clear in morning light
The day you want is out of sight
Though you search with all your might
The day you want is out of sight
The ashes of a day gone by
Would always slip away

The day you want is out of sight,” the band notably repeat in their third and final stanza. Dwelling in the past is counterproductive; it’s on the future that we should set our sights. An emotional and direct reaction to the “Make America Great Again” sentiment, “Ashes of a Day Gone By” transcending today’s MAGA movement to speak to all people and all times. It inspires forward-thinking and forward momentum, pressing all of us to build a collective tomorrow, rather than live in distorted memories of yesterday.

Stream Oliver the Crow’s vivid new video exclusively on Atwood Magazine, the band’s album and additional merchandise are available for pre-order through their crowdfunded Pledge Music effort, which just reached its goal yesterday! Oliver the Crow is out June 22, 2018.

pre-order & support Oliver the Crow here
Watch: “Ashes of a Day Gone By” – Oliver The Crow

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📸 © Kaitlyn Raitz

 

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com